Monday, March 23, 2009
A sunset visit to Allen Centennial Gardens in the spring of their 20th anniversary year
This is the building on the UW campus known to many as the "Fred House." The Victorian Gothic building was one of the first built on the University of Wisconsin's Agricultural College campus. For many years it served as the residence of the dean of the College of Agriculture. The last of these, Edwin P. Fred, continued to live there after he became president of the UW and, later, during his retirement. The building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984, saving it from being torn down for campus expansion. Not long after, the Horticulture Department began constructing a horticultural teaching garden on this site. It was dedicated as Allen Centennial Gardens in 1989, the 100th anniversary of the UW College of Agriculture.
We visited late Saturday afternoon, looking for signs of spring. Not too many, but we did find these snowdrops that had pushed up through the earth, the first flowers of the season. The ponds were filled with water again -- and with koi. But for the most part the gardens still looked brown and autumnal. It was a setting that made the ornamental grasses really stand out, their complex, pale stalks photogenic against the background of encroaching shadow. For other photos of our visit, see this set on Flickr.